Deciding if Homeschooling is Right for You and Your Family

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Homeschooling is not for everyone but it is always an option. Many people are fed up with the school system and the mixed messages that the public schools are sending our children. Still others simply have different beliefs than modern society and wish to teach those beliefs to their children without governmental or school interference. Or possibly you have one of those children that learn better in a different environment.

Not every child should be homeschooled, even within the same family. I once met a homeschooling family that had a daughter that was a senior in high school. Though her brother and sister were homes schooled she was public schooled. Why? It seems that when she was in 3rd grade she continually refused to get up and do her school work at home in a timely manner and did not take it seriously. Her mothers final solution, after many warnings, was to put her in public school. While her brother and sister (only a few years younger than she) thrived being homeschooled, she thrived being in public school.

All of my children to date have been both home and public schooled. Currently, the youngest is in 1st grade and in public school. My husband and I both know that this will one day change and we are cherishing the time that she is getting some great socialization in public school. She is a likable child that loves school and being very social.

One of her older siblings did not start public school until he was in 9th grade. He was a 4.0 student and valedictorian when he graduated from high school. Her other 6 siblings have all been homeschooled for at least part of their education. Some only for a year or so and one is in 9th grade now and still has never been to public school though he does attend some classes given by the local school district.

When two of my older children were failing in high school, I pulled them out and homeschooled them. The result? Two brilliant children. They were bored. There was no challenge for them in school. One went on to get her GED (General Education Diploma) and nearly aced the entire test while the other got his diploma from another course he choose to use. Both were good students but they were bored with the regular learning system and needed more of a challenge.

If the parents don’t have the time to work with the child it won’t work either. I have on many days had to drop everything and sit with my 9th grader to get him through in a subject he was less than enthused about or did not understand. He is a brilliant student but he struggles to remember what he read (reading retention problems) and he is also number dyslexic which has caused a few problems but we have a few great sentences we recite to encourage him to remember that 9 is to the left and P is to the right (I tell him to P to the right and 9 to the left and he laughs hard and for some reason he remembers this easily).

Tailoring the decision year to year and to each child’s needs has been the secret to successfully homeschooling our children. Depending on where we have lived and our beliefs we have chosen to homeschool over public school on a few occasions.

Other questions you need to ask yourself are Can you afford to homeschool? Consider that at least one parent needs to be home to oversee the homeschooling lessons even if they are not fully assisting at all times during the day. Can you afford to have only one parent working in the household?

Curriculum is another frequent factor. If you use an online program you may need to pay tuition of a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per year. Or you could join a co op that offers materials at a reduced fee or by trading what each family has.

Socialization is another common factor. Parents are worried about their kids being isolated by being homeschooled. I have never had any problem with my children being isolated. I live in a community with a large public school and a lot of homeschooling families. We go through the public school system and have work shops and other get togethers (bowling, skiing, snowboarding etc.) that allow for a lot of socialization time. Kids are also great at getting to know other kids in the neighborhood after school is out.

The final question is your own school district. Some school districts will work easily with you as a homeschooling parent while others are more oppositional to the idea. BE prepared to stand your ground and know your rights. Every parent has the right to homeschool.

Test may be conducted periodically (at least yearly) by the local school district to make sure your child is staying up with his or her grade level. If they are behind the school district may try to step in but remember, you as the teacher are the one that knows if your child is learning. I had one friend that had 5 kids, one daughter did not show any interest in reading til she was 11 yet she was right on in math and social studies skills. Each child is different and each child has his or her strengths. Be prepared to stand up to school districts that will argue otherwise with you.

Whatever decision you make, realize that it could all change next year. Your child may thrive in public school this year and not next or vice versa. Make your decision year to year and go from there and you will do fine.


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